By Emmanuel Oluebube, Correspondent UK
Ofcom Friday withdrew the licence for China Global Television Network( CGTN) to broadcast in the UK, after its investigation concluded that the licence is wrongfully held by Star China Media Limited.
CGTN is an international English-language satellite news channel.
In the UK, broadcasting laws made by Parliament state that broadcast licensees must have control over the licensed service – including editorial oversight over the programmes they show. In addition, under these laws, licence holders cannot be controlled by political bodies.
However, Ofcom investigation concluded that Star China Media Limited (SCML), the licence-holder for the CGTN service, did not have editorial responsibility for CGTN’s output. As such, SCML does not meet the legal requirement of having control over the licensed service, and so is not a lawful broadcast licensee.
In addition, the TMT regulator has been unable to grant an application to transfer the licence to an entity called China Global Television Network Corporation (CGTNC). This is because crucial information was missing from the application, and because Ofcom considers that CGTNC would be disqualified from holding a licence, as it is controlled by a body which is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
According to Ofcom: “We have given CGTN significant time to come into compliance with the statutory rules. Those efforts have now been exhausted.
Following careful consideration, taking account of all the facts and the broadcaster’s and audience’s rights to freedom of expression, we have decided it is appropriate to revoke the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK.
We expect to conclude separate sanctions proceedings against CGTN for due impartiality and fairness and privacy breaches shortly. Three other fairness and privacy investigations about content on the CGTN service also remain ongoing, pending further consideration. “